Do you ever find yourself sighing wistfully, gazing into the gilded sunset over Velen that blushes the fields with romantic reds and pinks, and wishiing that your big-budget high-fantasy game-of-the-year RPG had a touch more realism to it?
Hold onto your glitchy-teleporting horses, because those days just might be over. The Primal Needs mod by stefan3372 at Nexus Mods affixes hunger, thirst and fatigue meters to the HUD of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, each color coded and enacting a unique effect on gameplay should levels drop too drastically.
Hunger is solved rather easily by devouring whatever suspiciously well-preserved food is looted from sacks and crates – or if you’re fancy, bought from inns or merchants. But the snacks crammed into Roach’s saddlebags and Geralt’s pockets will go stale, and their healing properties decrease with each passing day. If he begins to starve, Vitality will deplete. The more Toxicity Geralt possesses, the longer it takes him to become peckish again.
Thirst is quicker to drain than hunger, like it is in reality, but just as quick to quench. This variable directly impacts the stamina meter, meaning that total dehydration results in no stamina replenishment. Best that Geralt keeps topped up, because this hugely alters his prowess in combat encounters – of which we know are countless.
Geralt can restore his energy levels by meditating, always with the silent hope that it doesn’t pour with rain during that blacked-out period. High fatigue restricts a great many of his combat acrobatics, stopping the Witcher from dodging, blocking and sprinting from his foes. If he gets completely exhausted, even running is too much for the poor lamb.
Managing these three needs requires careful attention and constant awareness, otherwise the White Wolf will be dicing with death far more often than he’d perhaps anticipate. This being said, the mod does permit customization of these settings, so players are able to create their own rendition of survival mode.
My take? Well, I don’t count myself in the majority that took The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt very seriously. I honestly don’t know what part of the story I’m at, because I spend all Geralt’s time investigating any castle/tower/cave/ruins Roach rides past, and crafting prettier armor to wear. Also collecting an unimaginably excessive number of glass bottles and plates than I care to mention. For other players adopting a similar approach, this mod does sound something like the antithesis to carefree exploration – or as carefree as a professional monster slayer can be when everything’s out to test your mettle.
But each to their own! Survival and realism mods refresh the game experience, bringing additional variables for dedicated fans to balance in order to succeed, and can even make the playthrough feel wholly immersive and rewarding. And there’s two things only the greatest of fools do: throw stones at hornet nests... and forget about their dehydration meter.